Voice of the Patient

 

May 2015


Erica Palmer shares the stories of her multiple losses.  Three early miscarriages and the loss of neonatal twins Gus and Eleanor have given Erica a unique perspective to speak to the interactions of hospital and OB staff with bereaved mothers.  We thank her for her strength and openness.

I was 7 1/2 weeks into my first pregnancy when I started spotting. I called the practice where I am a patient, and they worked me in for an ultrasound. My midwife was not available that day, but her supervising doctor was, and I was scheduled to see him after the ultrasound. I went alone to this appointment, as my partner at that time was unavailable. It was my first ultrasound, and I distinctly remember thinking, "There's my baby!" when it showed up on screen. My relief was short-lived, however; the ultrasound tech turned on the blue/red colors (I still don't know what this is called), and she gently informed me that the baby had stopped developing around 5 1/2 weeks. She was kind and understanding and respectful, as was the doctor when he saw me. He described my options to me - waiting to miscarry naturally, which could take as long as two weeks; inducing a miscarriage with Cytotec; or a D&C at the hospital. After discussion, we agreed that I would go home and think about it and call back with my decision. And - I will never forget this particular act of kindness - as he walked me out of the office, he escorted me out of a clearly rarely-used hallway so that I did not have leave through the occupied waiting room. In the end, I chose the Cytotec. The doctor seemed mildly surprised at my decision but was respectful and supportive. I had no complications and was glad to be at my own home.

Approximately two years later, I conceived again. Again, I started spotting early in the pregnancy, and again they scheduled me for an early ultrasound. My husband and I nervously went to the office, only to find out that I was not miscarrying but was expecting twins! We were overjoyed, but I was nervous due to my history and awareness of friends' pregnancy losses. I had some spotting off and on through 20 weeks, but overall things seemed to be going fine. On Fourth of July (a Thursday that year), I had spotting again and called the after-hours line. After a series of triage questions, the on-call nurse recommended that I call the office first thing in the morning. Again, my midwife was not available, but the doctor was, so I made an appointment to see him mid-morning. After an exam, he informed me that I was slightly dilated but that my cervix was still long. He recommended that I take it easy over the weekend and we scheduled a follow-up appointment on Monday morning. He gave me the midwife's cell phone number in case I had problems over the weekend. On Saturday morning, I began spotting again, and by Saturday afternoon one of the midwives from my practice was arranging to meet me at Women's Hospital. An ultrasound indicated that my cervix was no longer long, and I began to show symptoms of preterm labor. They put me in Trendelenberg position, gave me medicines to try to stop labor, and consulted with a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, who in turn consulted with folks at Baptist. Approximately five and a half hours after my arrival at the hospital, August Emory Palmer-Bowyer was born. He was tiny and perfect and we got to hold him for the entirety of his short life. The twins were dichorionic, diamniotic, so after Gus's birth, the focus changed to stopping my labor in the hopes of saving twin B. Unfortunately, I was bleeding too badly for this plan to be successful. Three short hours after her brother was born, Eleanor Elise Palmer-Bowyer entered the world. She, too, was tiny but beautiful, and was held by those who loved her every minute that she lived. They both lived a little over three hours, and their lives overlapped for about half an hour.

Originally, we called a friend and asked her to bring my husband a change of shoes, as we had not anticipated how long he would be standing at my bedside. A mutual friend asked to accompany her, and we agreed. Clearly, things changed rapidly. When we realized that things were going badly, we called a few family members. Late on that Saturday evening, the hospital graciously accommodated two of my friends, my parents, my brother, and my husband's brother. Our nurses were so gentle and respectful. The midwife was kind and patient and compassionate. No one recoiled at the strangeness of our tiny babies or was anything other than complimentary. The maternal-fetal medicine specialist, however, had a harsher bedside manner. At one point, as I sobbed with Gus in my arms, she roughly instructed me to "say a prayer or something." As I have pondered her words since his birth, I suspect that she was trying to tell me to pull myself together some, to calmly appreciate the short time I would have with him and to focus on the possibility that the other baby might live. However, she could have started with a quieter, more respectful instruction. I cannot begin to describe the depth of tearing grief one feels holding their newborn son, knowing that he will not live, that all of the dreams you had for him and for your family will die with him before the night passes, but I am not usually a hysterical person. A quieter, gentler reminder would have worked for me. Her insensitivity seemed uncaring and was hurtful, and in the end I will never really know what she was trying to say to me, because she was so inarticulate in her instruction. She stopped being involved with my care when it became apparent that we were going to lose both twins, and I was and still am grateful this was the last I had to speak to her. At three o'clock in the morning, the midwife informed me that I was medically cleared and could go home if I wished. I am so incredibly grateful for this final act of kindness. No one else is going home at 3:00 am. We didn't have to endure the sight of others waiting expectantly or leaving with their live, healthy babies. I was at home, in my own bed, scarcely twelve hours after I had left. The midwife called several times over the next few weeks to check on me outside of my follow-up appointments, which I always took to be a very thoughtful gesture.

Extensive testing showed no apparent underlying cause for the rapid decline of my pregnancy, and it was eventually attributed to preterm labor and incompetent cervix.

Twice since Gus and Eleanor's birth I have found myself pregnant again only to miscarry around 8 weeks. I elected for D&Cs both times, as the specialist with whom I am now working offered us the option to have the fetal tissue tested to see if we could determine an underlying cause for all of my losses. The specialist was compassionate, and both surgeries were performed at Women's Hospital. All of the staff I encountered - from my lab techs who drew my blood to the nurse anesthetist and the anesthesiologist to the nurses in recovery - were compassionate and kind without any trace of pity (which I would have found condescending and upsetting). On my second D&C, several of my team were the same and they remembered me and made kind remarks.

Overall, as a patient with a significant history of loss, it matters to me how my medical staff treats me and other patients. On the whole, I have had positive experiences with medical professionals. I have been treated with respect, compassion, and kindness. Many of my experiences, from my first miscarriage to the birth of the twins, have been with medical providers from the practice where I am a patient, but not with my primary caregiver herself. As with the hospital staff, these were people whose previous interactions with me had been limited to reading my chart. This has never appeared to hinder their interactions or care for me and my respect and gratitude for them is profound. Caregivers have been thoughtful in their interactions and in their practices, which has made these tragic experiences easier to bear.

 



January 2015

Kendrah Kidd tells the story of the birth of her son, Oz.  A likely-fatal diagnosis changed her excited pregnancy to a preparation for the possible worst.  Her difficult pregnancy and frightening delivery become a beautiful, tragic story she is generous to share.

Tell me about Oz's diagnosis and pregnancy.

On vacation in San Diego, CA I cut short a stretch of vegetarianism by ordering beef tacos from a tasty, but probably questionable looking establishment...I claimed it had to be the CA beef or the air or something...turns out, it was a baby!  On November 28, 2009 we found out we were going to be parents.  Everything changed.  After the initial shock wore off a few days later, we were so excited.  Baby books were purchased, obsessive planning commenced for the nursery, clothing, gear, etc... At our much anticipated 19 week ultrasound, March 1, 2010, we learned we were having a boy, and that he also had congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), and a heart condition.  At best, he had a 50% chance of survival.  Again, everything changed so sharply, so drastically.  I chose not to have an amniocentesis - I did not want to do anything invasive unless absolutely necessary.  We followed up with a fetal echo the next Monday that confirmed his left ventricle was smaller than it should be - however, due to his stomach being in his chest, they were not sure at the time if it was a congenital condition or a clinical effect from his stomach pushing against it.  Over the next 19 weeks and 6 days, we were monitored.  Fetal echos monthly, genetic counseling appointments, fetal MRI, meetings with surgeons, countless ultrasounds, NSTs twice a week, all in addition to my regular OB appointments, all in addition to my full time job in a research laboratory and Chris' graduate school.  Tours of the NICU, Brenner's Children's Hospital, and their specialized children's ambulance replaced typical prenatal tours of the mother/baby unit.  I remember going to a breastfeeding class, surrounded by a dozen women with normal pregnancies, worried with typical pregnancy issues, and me having a long discussion with the instructor afterwards to get names and numbers of people at both Forsyth Medical Center and Brenners to make sure I had a pump in my room and how best to get milk to wherever he was going to be.

It was terrifying.  So many choices had to be made, not simply nursery theme, going home outfit, name, etc... Hard choices, whether to continue the pregnancy, what type of delivery is actual safest for him, etc... And yet, as scared as we were, and as much as we wanted to lie down and give up, we had this amazing little boy who was counting on us.  Counting on us to love him, to advocate for him, to cheer him on, to never give up on him.  We did our best.  We decorated a nursery with handmade goods as a way to pour our love and energy into something positive as we went from appointment to appointment.  We chose his name in hopes to further strengthen and lift him up: Osmund "Protected by Grace", Oz (nickname) "Strength", and Wyatt "Fighter".  We prayed, we read, we took pictures, we visited places we could - he was able to experience both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, I stayed up at night to talk to him and to just enjoy and remember that precious time we had together.  I felt so grounded...I honestly believed that one day, some day we would bring our son home, I refused to believe that he would die.

What was your interaction with staff like during delivery?

Oz was breech and I had a C-section at 39 weeks and 6 days.  The day of his delivery, we were taken in quickly.  While I was having my spinal placed, Chris waited outside of the OR, gowned up.  Several staff members stopped by to tell him they were praying for us.  I remember the nurses in there that day with me, holding my hand, the nurse anaesthetist told me that July 21, 2010 was a good day to be born.  They held my hands...and I know part of it was to actually hold my hands up and away from my stomach.  All I wanted was to keep my hands on him, reassure him with their pressure and warmth.  I knew he was safe with me, but it was time.

Our OB was wonderful - the delivery happened so fast.   Started at 9:02am and Oz was out at 9:05am.  But that's when his safety and comfort that I provided ended, and his struggle to live and breathe began.  I felt the pressure as they pulled him out...and nothing.  No sound. No cry. No scream. Not even a gurgle.  The staff were silent as well.  I think they were waiting to hear something, anything.

He was placed in the isolette for resuscitation, and the neonatology fellow was very cold and direct - I will never forget her words, "He has extra digits and we believe there is a chromosomal abnormality.  Do you still want to proceed with resuscitation?"  I realize they are required to ask these questions - and it is an urgent situation.  I know I answered "YES.", however; I am certain there were expletives included and/or it was said in a not very kind manner.

There was so much activity - Chris was able to get a few pictures of him for me...and before I knew it, my sweet new born was whisked away to the NICU for further evaluation, while I was still being sewn back together.  I did not get to hold him or touch him.  

I felt so empty.  The life I had carried and protected, yanked from me and taken away, and I was left there, numb from the anaesthesia, unable to walk, unable to do anything to help anyone...terrified, praying and making any bargain with God or Anyone in charge of anything to let my son live.  The recovery nurses did what they could to calm me and to tell us what was happening, we were given an employee phone handset so that we could be easily reached and Chris could go down and be with Oz as soon as possible.

Can you highlight things that helped you after Oz was born?

I appreciated being taken down as soon as possible to see him, even if I was still unable to move from the waist down - being able to see him, to touch his knee (which was the only thing I could reach at the time) - it was magical.  

I appreciated our cardiologist coming over from Brenner's to Forsyth to perform the Echo on him personally, and coming to tell us the heartbreaking news that his heart was in fact malformed and would not sustain him in addition to the fact that his lungs had not developed at all.  

I appreciated our neonatologist wanting us to have as much time with him as possible, and to not force Oz to endure undue pain and suffering.  I also appreciate her gracefulness in backing off on trying to make a clinical diagnosis that day.  I understand it was her job, but that day was about him and us.  It didn't matter to me what happened or how many chromosomes he had, his pulmonary system did not develop and no blood test or pictures were going to change that.

The chaplains that sat with us while Oz was alive were wonderful, one made sure that he was baptized, as we wished.

I will always treasure the teddy bears, blankets, and hats he was given that day.  I have a lovely box full of small items - a lock of his beautiful reddish-brown hair, prints, the shampoo used to bathe him.  Even today when I open the box, I smell that wonderful, fresh smell of the shampoo and it reminds me of the precious moments I held him...

Of course, the photographs we have will always be treasured.  Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is an amazing organization.

Were there parts of staff interaction that could be improved?

After Oz passed, while I was being moved to my room and being checked out/taken care of - Oz's body was cared for by the NICU nurses, who bathed him and put him in some pjs.  I wish I had been the one to do it.  I feel like I really missed out on something - the one and only time I would be able to do some small basic care for him...or at least have been able to watch.  

I was placed on the gynecological recovery floor - and my night nurse was fairly rude.  I could tell she was obviously told to say something to me about my loss, so she awkwardly stopped what she was doing, made a sound and said in the flattest, most bored-out-of-her-mind tone, "Sorry about your baby." and went on with her procedures.  I was floored and hurt.

After they brought me his body, the next morning, they had to take him away.  It was my last good-bye.  People had already come to visit and they were uncomfortable that I had his body, rocking it, holding him in my arms - taking in every moment of his weight and presence that I could.  And they just took him from me, gently, but it was awkward.  I would have loved to have had a private moment - to have had someone ask people to leave the room for a minute for privacy - whether it be a staff member or a family member.  I am very bothered and have some anger about it still.

But I didn't know.  I didn't know what to ask or what I wanted or what I would feel like later on.

What would you like to say to a medical professional working with bereaved families?

We are all different - different temperaments, different beliefs, different comforts.  We don't necessarily conform to gender norms.  We don't necessarily know what we want or what our options are.  Please talk to us, please ask us questions.  Please try to give us as much time as possible with our babies, as many experiences as possible.  Ask if we want time alone or if it is OK for others to be present.  And if someone is uncomfortable - it is better to say nothing than to say something so flat and unfeeling as the one nurse I had.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 2014

Jessica Hawks tells the story of the stillbirth of her son, Noah.  In a very short amount of time, she went from celebrating the life growing inside her to choosing funeral arrangements.  As her loss is still recent, the shock of the experience can be heard in her writing as she shares Noah’s story.  

My son Noah, was a healthy baby boy, until we had an ultrasound done at 22 weeks that showed fluid around his heart and under his skin. The doctors assumed that it was blood. We were then sent to Forsyth medical center where a transfusion was to be done, through the cord. We had another ultrasound done there the morning before the procedure was scheduled and they found that a mass was growing in Noah’s chest, keeping his lungs from developing properly and putting pressure on his heart. They canceled the transfusion and we discussed going to Ohio, to have a surgery they would perform in utero (they would remove Noah, then proceed to remove the mass from his chest and place him back). It seemed all so surreal. We were scheduled to leave the following Wednesday. That Sunday we went to Women's Hospital for a Progesterone injection. That Monday, we had a scheduled ultrasound with Maternal Fetal at Women’s Hospital. The mass was still there, but had not gotten any larger, and he had a strong heart rate of 148 bpm. That night my breast got extremely hard and very uncomfortable. I didn't think anything of it. Tuesday morning came, and I laid in bed realizing that I had not felt him move. We then went to the doctor, where I almost passed out in the waiting area. Dr. McComb tried to find the heart beat with a hand held Doppler, and was unsuccessful. We went to ultrasound. We had seen enough ultrasounds within the last 5 days to know that something was wrong. His heart had stopped. He was gone. I asked for orange juice. I thought maybe his sugar was just low and he needed a pick-me-up. Nothing helped. We then went to Dr. McCombs office to discuss options. Option one was to go to Chapel Hill and have a D&C; Option two was to go across the street to Women’s and deliver him. My husband was the one that brought it to my attention that we would be able to hold him and take pictures if we went to Women’s.

We were admitted into Women’s Hospital. A nurse came and met us at Maternity Admissions and walked us down to room 161. A white rose was placed on our door. That night we received information on burial arrangements. We were unaware that after 20 weeks gestation you have to bury your child. That was overwhelming. They induced labor. We knew it would take a while, so we went to bed. No one slept that night. The next day, Wednesday, I had Noah at 12:45pm. We were able to hold him and take pictures. Most of his grandparents were able to hold him and see him. I was able to keep him with me for 2 hours. When the nurse left with him, I was hysterical. I had to be medicated to calm me down. The next day, Thursday, the young woman that brought my dinner, came in to my room, praying in her native tongue and gave me the biggest hug. I will never forget her face. That day we confirmed funeral arrangements and I was discharged. The funeral was Friday. Closed casket. I didn't even know if he had a onesie on. Womens hospital donated the casket. I have never seen a casket so small. Our son was laid to rest, in Julian North Carolina (Gilmore Memorial), they have a section dedicated to babies. As you can imagine, that was the worse week of my life. We went from planning baby showers and registering at Babies R Us to planning a funeral in a matter of 7 days.
 
Jessica continues, describing her interaction with staff, what helped and what she wishes had happened:

Our interaction with the staff was alright. Many nurses didn’t know what to say if anything. Many were emotional, as we were, which made it easier for me to fall apart when I needed to. They were loving and compassionate. I do not remember anyone being harsh or heartless.
What helped me the most, after delivering Noah, was being able to hold him and take pictures of him. There is a group called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, that have professional photographers that will come and take pictures of you and your family for free. That meant a lot to us.
Something that I would say to a medical professional would be, "How would you want to be treated in this situation?" I know you cannot imagine how it may feel to lose a child, but try to be understanding when the dad is angry, or when he falls to the floor in pain, knowing that he will never get to see his son grow up and play baseball, or help him get ready for prom. Or when the mom doesn't respond to you after her child has been taken from her. Just try to understand and be as compassionate as you can. Do not say, "Well at least you have other children.", or “You're young, you can try again."  That just makes it seem that the child we just lost was not important enough.

 

 

 

 

July 2014

 

Elizabeth, Mark, Jacob, Lucas, and Ava wear red in memory of Ryan and Alex

Elizabeth, Mark, Jacob, Lucas, and Ava wear red in memory of Ryan and Alex

Elizabeth Hepler 

Elizabeth is the mother of Ryan, lost at 19 weeks, and of Alex, lost at 8 weeks.  In an interview, this Heartstrings mother shares her traumatic experiences, her struggle to survive grief and bitterness, and her strong desire to lessen the painful experience for other grieving parents.  She continues to channel her pain into positive outreach that helps others, keeps her emotionally connected to her babies, and continues to heal her heart.

You had a very difficult experience with both of your losses.


It was all pretty traumatic. I was separated from my husband each time and in no way was this medically necessary.  I came in for the D&E having been given medication to start labor.  The pain medication I'd been given the day prior had worn off and my water broke in the car.  We were required to wait in the main entrance where we watched women coming in to deliver healthy babies for over an hour.  Once I was finally called back, my husband was told to wait in some other room while I sat alone, shaking in pain.

The second time was similar, though this time we were placed in a location where we watched women leaving the hospital with their healthy babies.  We felt like someone could have easily seated us in a private location where we wouldn't have to watch families leaving to bring their babies home.  I will say that I had the same nurse both times...and she remembered me.  There was a nurse anesthetist at the first procedure who was very comforting; she said she'd been there herself and offered for me to listen to her music. I declined, but it was a nice gesture.

Each time I felt so broken having come in as 3 people, ripped away from my husband (which doesn't even happen with a c-section and was completely unnecessary from a medical standpoint), and leaving completely empty-handed—leaving as 2 people.  Having been given ANYTHING tangible to remember the 3rd person had existed would have been nice.

You speak of the "third person" involved.  Tell me what it means to you to have your sons treated like real people.  What difference would that have made for you in these hospital interactions?

For me....and I know everyone is different...but for me, I felt like my babies were treated like "tissue", not people.  I had to fight to get Ryan's ultrasound pictures after the fact because no one bothered to give them to me.  (I don't know the gender of the second baby, which is why I refer to the second baby as "Alex").  The second time around, I knew to ask for the pictures, but they were not offered.  For me...anything tangible would have been nice. My children did not exist on paper.  They had heartbeats; they were living beings.  You can see his sweet little head, hands, and crossed ankles in that picture that I had to fight to get. I get the bill for the "tissue" that was removed each month, over 2 years later.  Other than that, there is absolutely no acknowledgement of my children from the medical community.

What is the most basic thing that would have made your hospital visits better experiences?

At the very least, if someone could have given me some tangible (i.e. you can hold it in your hands) token of remembrance, that would have helped tremendously...a card, a blanket, a diaper, anything.  I was given a bucket to throw up in and scurried out the door.  In and out smaller than when I arrived, both physically and emotionally.

Of course, treating them like people would have meant the world to me.  "I'm so sorry for the loss of your baby."  "I'm so sorry your baby died."  They just need to say it...it needs to be said.

You got home, empty-handed, and you had a choice to be angry forever, or do something about it.  You really did something about it.  Tell me about Raindrop Memories and how it came to be.

It's really something to go from being pregnant to having an empty womb...without bringing home a living baby.  There is a transformation that takes place during that process physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  My body was smaller than when I'd arrived and my heart felt smaller too.  I've always felt that when you become a mother, a part of your heart remains with that child.  You watch it floating along with them as they take their first steps, climb to the top of a rope for the first time, go off to kindergarten, and beyond.  I sat on my bed thinking "how in the world do I parent a child in Heaven?" A piece of my heart had gone with my child, leaving me smaller, and helpless as I wouldn't get those "firsts".  My child did not exist on paper. I came home to an empty room with an empty womb and I wanted something to fill it. I wondered "Am I still me?"

I set out determined that no other woman should have to feel this way again.  I searched for something to do...to put something tangible in parents' hands that they could hold when they needed to, and tuck away when they didn't.  I also wanted to see my child's name written on something.  Creating something for other families would fulfill both of those desires.  As I began to search for volunteers, many women- even family members- came to me stating that they'd had a loss also, some having hidden this fact for decades.  They expressed that creating support items for other families helped them experience closure and fill a void in their hearts, as well.

Raindrop Memories formed as a way for mothers (and fathers, and grandparents, and siblings, and beyond) to heal, to reach out to other families just starting their grief journey, and an opportunity for them to see their child's name in writing with each donation. We usually enclose a card that states who the item was created in memory of.  The name "Raindrop Memories" stemmed from a moment when I stood in the rain and felt the water wash over my body, cleansing my spirit and my soul.  I didn't run, I just stood and soaked it all in.  "R" is for my "Ryan" and "M" is for my dear friend, Keren's "Micheal".  Keren reached out to me at a time when I felt lost and I knew I had a strong desire to do the same for other women.  The items we put together are in an effort to sprinkle families with "H.O.P.E": honor, optimism, peace, and encouragement.  Tangible memories are all I've got to connect with Ryan and Alex.  They help me to feel those two pieces of my heart that are in Heaven.  They help me to know that I am indeed still me.  I'm a different version of myself, but I'm determined to be a better one.

For more information on Raindrop Memories, visit www.raindropmemories.org.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 2014

 

Amy McKinney

Amy McKinney is a mother to four babies.  Her oldest two, Joshua Ryan and Emma Grace, died after a fight in the NICU.  Her younger babies both died during early pregnancy.  This brave mother was kind enough to share her story in an interview with Heartstrings.  She comments on staff interactions and how those carried her forward through the early days.

 

Tell me about your babies.

"We had Emma Grace & Joshua Ryan on November 9, 2008. I was right at 24 weeks gestation and after 10 weeks of bed rest (the last 3 spent in the hospital) there was no holding them back. They were delivered by c-section and immediately taken to the NICU. My husband, Ryan, is the only one who has ever seen them perfectly pink and not covered in tubes. They were troopers from minute one and fought a hard battle. After several procedures and moving them to Brenners, we lost Josh on November 19 and Emma followed shortly there after on November 23. The doctors only reason for her demise (because she had been excelling by leaps and bounds) was that she felt her brother was gone and the bond between twins often weaken one when the other is gone. Since that time, we have had two subsequent pregnancies, both have ended in miscarriages around 8 weeks. The most recent being this January."

What was your interaction with the NICU staff like, especially after Josh died?  Then after Emma died?

"They were all amazingly supportive. Two of the nurses from Women's came to see us and check on Emma and Josh once we moved them to Brenner's and they also came to the Memorial Services. I wish desperately I could remember their names right now, but that meant so much. One thing that I remember in particular, there were several nights that I couldn't bear to leave when quiet time began. They would let me stay until all hours of the night and that always meant so much to me. They never pushed too much information on us, but always had it available. I also thought they had some wonderful amenities for parents such as the nursing rooms and available on-site support."

Can you highlight things that helped you after your babies died?

"A lot of the support that followed immediately after Emma and Josh passed came from the nurses and doctors at Brenner's. They reached out every couple weeks to see if we needed anything or if they could provide any services for support. Also, being that our loss was around Thanksgiving, we were included in several memorial events. Baptist has a wonderful ceremony around Christmas and a family meal at Thanksgiving. We also got involved and started taking small stuffed animals to both NICU's (Women's and Brenner's). We called it "Presents for Preemies" and we delivered the first round the year we lost them and several years after. The staff at Physicians for Women have played the largest roll over the years. My doctor, Michelle Grewal, her nurse and several others have walked down the road of infertility with us and have been amazing supports for each loss. It is from them that I learned of Heartstrings and the Walk to Remember. The Walk has become my most treasured event of the year."

What would you like to say to a medical professional who is reluctant to work with bereaved families?

 

Great question. I would strongly encourage them to get involved with the families! The smallest acts make such large impacts at a time like that. The involvement of medical staff really lets the patients/parents know that they are not just another number, they represent a child who will never be and a family that feels a little less whole. I would love to see doctors and nurses get even more involved in some of the memorial events and reach out programs as well. It would be good for loss parents, but could also help expose them to the side of loss they don't really see.


So, medical professionals walking with us at the Heartstrings Walk for Remembrance & Hope this October?

I would love that!